Following a dawn raid this morning, the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has launched a fraud and money laundering investigation into two companies that are suspected of having misled investors into funnelling around £150m into fraudulent leasehold schemes across the country.
A group of Alpha-branded companies is being investigated for fraudulently misleading investors into purchasing leaseholds for student accommodation in Leicestershire, Lancashire, Staffordshire and West Yorkshire between 2014 and 2019.
Meanwhile, a group of Green Park-branded companies is suspected to have run a similar scheme for holiday accommodation leaseholds in Devon over the same period.
Both companies promised investors between 8 and 10 per cent returns on their investment over the first ten years when they joined the schemes.
These guaranteed returns attracted over 1500 investors from some 50 countries to the schemes. Together, they collectively poured an estimated £150m into the leasehold schemes – but come 2018, they stopped receiving any returns on their investments.
Meanwhile, the SFO said, the schemes are thought to have filled the pockets of the company directors of Alpha and Green Park with around £20m.
The SFO’s chief investigator Mick Gallagher called for anyone with a connection to the investigation to come forward, as the watchdog contacts UK-based investors in the schemes.